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Are You An Ideal Teammate?

In a TEDx Talk, author Patrick Lencioni says life is a team sport, and we are in the era of teamwork. If we want to be the best we can be for ourselves and others, we have to strive to be ideal teammates. He says there are 3 areas that you have to master to be a great teammate: Humble, Hungry, Smart (Emotionally and Socially Intelligent)

While hitting 1 out of 3 is good in baseball, and making 2 out of 3 of your shots is good in basketball, you have to go 3 out of 3 to be an ideal teammate.

Here Is How Lencioni Defines The Big 3

1 - Humility - Humility is putting others ahead of ourselves while still shining our light and being the best we can be. C.S. Lewis said, “Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves, it’s thinking about ourselves less.”

2 - Hungry - You have to develop an innate sense to do good work and to get things done. People who are hungry want to go above and beyond in everything they do, they have a high standard for what they do and never do the bare minimum. Be hungry to be great.

3 - Smart - Smart teammates have Emotional and Social Intelligence and common sense around how they understand people, and they know how to use their words and actions to bring the best out of others.

Which One Are You?

The key to being an ideal teammate is mastering all three qualities, so it is important to learn how to identify in ourselves and others when one is lacking or missing.

Accidental Mess-Maker - This is a person who is humble and hungry but lacks smarts - emotional and social intelligence. They are great people who work hard, but you often have to clean up after them and the messes they make with people.

The Lovable Slacker - This is a person who is humble and smart someone you like but who lacks hunger and does the bare minimum. This person makes the group project fun, but they don’t do their part.

The Skillful Politician -This is a person who is smart and hungry, but they aren’t humble. They interview well and they say the right thing, but deep down inside, it’s about them and not others, and they leave a trail of tears behind them because it is all about them and they will do what they have to do to get the awards, the promotion, and fame.

What Can You Do With This?

Defining and understanding what the ideal teammate is, and being able to identify their areas of growth and opportunity is the key, but real growth happens when you are able to coach yourself and coach the people around you.

Here are the 3 steps Lancioni recommends we take to become the best teammates and teams we can be:

1 - Rank Yourself - Which area is your greatest strength, and which area are you the weakest?

2 - Have Your Teammates Rank Themselves - Have each teammate rank which area they are best at, 2nd best at, and 3rd best at.

3 - Coach Yourself and Others - Turn your colleagues, teammates, and family into your coaches. They are the best source of coaching and advice you have to become a better team player and more successful because the day you know the people around you love you enough to tell you when you are doing something you need to improve in, everything changes.


1 - What area is your strongest and why?

2 - What area is your 2nd strongest and why?

3 - What area is your weakest and why? What can you do to grow in that area?

For a printable PDF of this post, click here: Are You An Ideal Teammate?

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